The backup plan

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

When goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin signed with the St. John's Maple Leafs last November, he saw it as an opportunity to get his foot in the door with the parent organization.

Now he is going to get a chance to come in and make himself comfortable.

Aubin signed a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs yesterday and will contest the backup role to Ed Belfour with Mikael Tellqvist when training camp opens next month.

"I'm really looking forward to going to camp and putting it all out there," Aubin, 28, said last night from his home near Montreal. "You want to show everybody in the organization you're the guy to back up Eddie. It's great that I came in last year because I got to know everybody.

"Eddie's a great goalie. He was pretty much my idol growing up."

Aubin's pact is a two-way deal that will pay him $500,000 US if he plays in the NHL or $75,000 if he suits up for the Leafs' relocated and renamed farm club, the Toronto Marlies. Tellqvist is on a similar type of contract that pays him $450,000 in the NHL.

Where Aubin has a decided edge over Tellqvist is in the department of experience. In 168 NHL games, all with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Aubin is 63-72-11 with a 2.92 goals-against average and six shutouts. Tellqvist is 6-4-2 in 14 games with Toronto.

But Aubin will have to earn the right to be Belfour's understudy.

"He has proven to be a capable NHL goaltender, but we're going to let the players and coaches decide," Leafs general manager John Ferguson said. "That's not a decision that is made on Aug. 18."

With St. John's last season, Aubin was 12-9 in 23 games after signing in November. Tellqvist, in 45 games, was 24-16-4.

While he signed one goalie to a deal yesterday, Ferguson was working on getting another to North America, even if it's just for a brief visit. Ferguson wants Tuukka Rask, the Leafs' first-round pick in the entry draft last month, to participate in the rookie tournament at Ottawa in early September.

However, the start of Rask's season in Finland, which coincides with the rookie camp, may prevent him from coming over.

Meanwhile, Ferguson indicated the assistant coaches to Paul Maurice with the Marlies will soon be announced. A name rumoured for one of the two jobs is Joe Paterson, who was an assistant coach with the AHL's Toronto Roadrunners in 2003-04. There's the thought a former Leaf will be hired for one of the jobs, as well. Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark have been linked to the club in the past, but only through speculation.


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